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Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

The battery life with which we have on our mobile devices is limited, and the complaint is constant: move much in other “camera performance, power, quality screens” but apparently very little in the battery life.

All this has made several myths about how to emerge perfect battery use in our smartphones. Some are true and others false, but what happens to those statements in the case of battery care also happens to speak of the autonomy of these devices. What to believe and what not?

The battle for efficiency is real

These complaints, however, must be questioned. It is true that years ago that smartphones do not spend the day or day and a half of autonomy in a more or less normal use, and it seems that manufacturers make the priority is not to extend these autonomies but make these devices are increasingly powerful or have better cameras.

Is it true that the autonomy of the batteries have not improved anything? That might be printing to check how to stretch the use of our smartphones for a whole day still seems to be a complicated task. And yet it is clear that although the eternal promises of the revolution in batteries not stop -we get all- heard what itself has been improved is the efficiency of these devices.

We have commented on various analyzes: some may not appreciate it, but devices with this power can withstand the same enduring much less ambitious devices is remarkable. Energy management offered by mobile operating systems adds to the improvements that have been integrated processor manufacturers. We get more power and better performance at all and still enjoy (and suffer) these autonomies of around one or two days (depending on usage, Clear).

Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

Therefore, that is the first myth that we should reconsider when talking about the autonomy of mobile phones. It is certainly worse if we consider all that we have gained in performance, but as always, there are other factors at play.

What had our mobile battery eats?

Achieve a long battery is easy to say but much harder to do. The idea is to try not to do many things at once: because our phones are composed of a large number of components and technologies that need to share a battery, the idea is to maximize the use of undemanding features and minimize the Very demanding.

A study published in December 2013 by a group of researchers from Chung Hua University in Taiwan, analyzed the impact of these components on the energy consumption of a conventional smartphone. Although the data may have changed somewhat in recent models of the manufacturers it is clear that the CPU and connectivity GSM and WiFi are the classic culprits of the autonomy of our devices.

If you use any of these features much notice how this autonomy is affected, and here there are more than myths realities. Obviously, when playing demanding games CPU and GPU mobile depleted the battery faster, but so is the fact that the WiFi connectivity has permanently activated if not we will use is also not a good idea.

The same study revealed that the chips needed 1,4260W analyzed by scanning available networks and only 0,89W by making data transmission. If we are connected to WiFi but not transmitting, low consumption 0,256W according to these studies, which is not negligible considering that we are not using.

Another curious fact was revealed in the study: send data consumes more than receive. Although the tests were done with now somewhat obsolete connections (EDGE and WiFi 802.11g), in both cases it was shown that energy efficiency improvement in the reception more than sending in this device. The energy consumption of Bluetooth is “very low”, and in this study a particularly striking standard was introduced in this area but nothing widespread in the field of smartphones: ZigBee was ultra efficient and researchers claim could be combined with WiFi to replace those connections when scanning networks available for example.

A related and more recent research from the University of Aalborg in Denmark focused on energy efficiency technologies connection to mobile networks and there clarified that the evolution of these networks has also favored us. LTE and its iterations are more efficient than previous solutions, but as claimed by other experts that also depends on factors such as the frequency band used or 3G or 4G coverage exists in the area in which we live.

Close tasks do not save battery

Apart from these crucial factors, another of the sections that influence the autonomy we get from our device it is in that CPU usage, but attention because here there is an old myth always commented. Would not it be better to have completely closed applications that are available in the background on your phone?

That was the impression for many users, who insisted on closing tasks that were in the background without using both Android and iOS. Years ago, it might make sense especially for memory management, a scarce resource in those early smartphones. Things have changed dramatically, and not only have more memory, but the management of this resource is now much more efficient.

In fact, when Android running an application off the screen in the task manager really not we are “killing”, something that can only be done by stopping altogether the task manager system applications. Following this myth began to emerge applications that promised to kill those applications to improve battery life, but many of them ironically did the opposite: caused increased battery consumption.

This week we see the confirmation of this fact by both Apple as Google, which indicated that close applications have no impact on the battery. In fact, he indicated one of the heads of engineering at Android, stop them might even have a slight negative effect. In Wired explained with more detail how management tasks these devices work, but the idea is clear: systems task management are smart enough and to achieve maximum efficiency when working with all applications that we use in our smartphones.

That is especially true now that for example Android includes Doze in Marshmallow, a technology that goes beyond the new Android N that appears in autumn. That energy management has also been a key feature of the good performance of the iPhone, which despite having batteries of smaller capacity than many Android – based devices achieved a remarkable autonomy, especially after the arrival of low power mode iOS 9.

There are obviously good practices and even applications that effectively help make more intelligent use of our devices, but in many sections, mobile platforms have matured enough to try to provide maximum possible autonomy. In the end, yes, we will be us who will condition the autonomy with the use we give to our devices, of course.

Certainties of batteries in mobile phones

Although we all wish our smartphones batteries (those that so little money it costs us to load) should offer us greater autonomy, the truth is that their technology has improved in recent years. But the most interesting is that today there are many research groups innovating on battery, so it is likely that eventually reach the market proposals with better performance than current units (probably the electric car will be an important incentive in this sector).

Interestingly, even though, as I said, the battery performance has improved, they remain deeply ingrained in many of us wrong about the best way of ideas to use and expand its life. Some of these strategies were valid for years, and have been overcome, but others have never had a really solid foundation. Here are some of the myths that we can say goodbye forever, and a few who rely on tangible arguments, and, therefore, are not myths. Let’s go there.

When mobile extremes, download butt

The idea that has many users about the need to fully discharge its smartphone comes from the time when the batteries suffered from the problem known as “memory effect” (we will see in more detail in another section of the post). Many experts say that the batteries work best when they have a charge level ranging between 40 and 80% of its total capacity, so we try to keep them at these levels whenever possible to avoid subjecting them to unnecessary stress.

Occasionally we are interested in making a total discharge, followed by a 100% charge to complete a charge cycle because when we do, the battery is calibrated to preserve its maximum load capacity. However, it is more than enough to do it once a month.

Do not use the phone while charging

There is no reason a technical basis to justify this myth. The charging of the battery is carried out in exactly the same way regardless of whether the phone is on, and we are using or turned off. What we must keep in mind is that, if turned on during this process, will be consuming a portion of the battery charge, so long as we have to wait until completion of the load will be greater than if we keep it off. In any case, use it or not during charging no negative effect on the “health” of the battery.

The first charge must be complete

One of the most widespread myths argues that the first thing we do when we release a new mobile phone is out of the box and put it to charge up the battery level reaches 100%. Absolutely as I mentioned in a previous section, many experts say that the batteries work best with a loading level ranging between 40 and 80%of its total capacity. For this reason, the longer the load is within this range, the greater the life of the battery.

Manufacturers often deliver mobile with a loading level ranging between 50 and 60%, so we can use it and put it in charge when we get to 40%. In addition, we do not have to charge 100%.

Do not let the mobile plugged if it is already loaded

Extreme, very high, or very low temperatures cause faster degradation of the batteries, so we should avoid as far as possible. Much of shippers we use today have some “intelligence” so they are able to determine the time when the battery reaches 100% charge level and stop the process at that time. However, usually the battery is maintained at a higher temperature when we have the mobile connected, so it is preferable to disconnect the electric current when it has reached the load level we need.

Do not upload if the battery is not exhausted

We return to the resort to something that I mentioned twice in this article: batteries work with less stress when their charge level is between 40 and 80%.Therefore, as we approach the 40% we can put it to load without any problems. In fact, it is preferable to do so and not wait until we exhaust the battery. As I mentioned earlier it is enough to download the whole once a month to calibrate the battery and preserve its maximum load capacity.

The “memory effect” is no longer a problem

That widespread idea that argues that we always make complete charge and discharge of the battery of our mobile so that their capacity is maintained at 100%comes from the time when “ruled” units nickel cadmium (NiCd) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH). The first, the NiCd type, are particularly sensitive to the “memory effect” caused by the appearance of tiny crystals inside the battery that arise when performing loads and incomplete downloads, or when the battery reaches high temperatures.

Fortunately, the lithium-ion (Li-ion), which mostly used in our phones, is immune to the “memory effect”. In addition, lithium polymer batteries (LiPo), which are increasingly being used more often, not affected. Yes, it is important to bear in mind that the latter should not be discharged below 3 volts per cell. If we overcome this threshold could be damaged.

The normal load is better than fast

Increasingly mobile phones offer us the ability to charge your battery rapidly, and therefore in less time than when we resort to conventional charging process. However, there is something that we must consider: the battery life is longer when loaded using a reduced voltage. To shorten the duration of this process, the voltage increases, which, ultimately, can end up shortening the life of the battery. This does not mean that we should never use fast charging, but it is advisable to resort to it only when really necessary, and not usual.

The wireless charging is harmless

It depends on your point of view. For our health, yes, it is, while not scientifically proven otherwise, but for the battery of our mobile medium and long term can be harmful, which could shorten its life. This is because the wireless charging process, both through magnetic induction and resonance, generates waste heat can increase the temperature of the battery above the typical conventional heating load derivative.

As I mentioned before, a constant and excessive heat can cause the battery to degrade faster. However, like when we talked about fast charging, this does not mean that we should never use the wireless charging. The key is not to abuse and use it when you really need.

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